Rock the House

By Caitlin Graziani, Alex Trafecante and Jacob Peirce

When it comes to live music, more and more people are choosing to stay in rather than go out.

Whether it be the recession, or people not wanting to figure out how to get home from a bar not near their home, house shows seem to be growing in popularity. A house show is an extension of this recent trend on gathering with friends at a house rather than a bar.

A house show, at the most basic level, is when a band is booked to play a show at a house and people come to the house to see the show.  This eliminates the need for a venue, large covers and adds a more intimate environment for all involved.

Tatum Storey, a 17 year-old junior at Parkersburg High School is not old enough to go to a bar to see a band, so she decided to bring the band to her.  Storey tweeted Wayne Coyne from The Flaming Lips many times throughout October 2011.  She had been tweeting at Coyne with things such as “when the flaming lips came to Nelsonsville I was at band camp. U guys need to come near WV & let me dance on stage or I’ll die,” “Come to west Virginia, or Ohio soon please! I’m begging you!”

Storey eventually got her wish and The Flaming Lips came to play a house show on Halloween for Storey and all of her friends.

Tatum Storey, a senior at Parkersburg High School, poses with The Flaming Lips front man Wayne Coyne during their performance at Storey's house show in 2011.

“My initial reaction was woooo…I cleaned my friend’s house all day the day before and we made a bunch of purple-colored popcorn,” Storey said.

Storey estimates that there were more than 150 people at the house show, which was in her friend’s basement on Oct. 30 of last year.

Logan Jones most recently played host to Math the Band on April 12.  This was not the first time she has hosted a house show.

“I used to live in a tiny apartment, and I hated it. I hated not being able to have people over. So, I got this place and I thought we could have a place to hang up artwork and expose people,” Jones said.

Kevin Steinhauser, guitarist from Math the Band, plays with a cat who is sitting on top of the bands musical equipment prior to setting up for the show.

Jones hosted a house show late last year.  She doesn’t think that when she moves from where she currently lives that she will stop doing the house shows, but she may choose to do more quiet shows in the future.

“I think its kind of a better deal. Because you pay $5 and you get to drink all night for free. As oppose to paying $5 and buying drinks all night too. It’s a different environment. Its not a clique-y place, everyone kind of mingles together,” Jones said.

Jones is not the only person in Morgantown choosing to open up her home to house shows.

“I starting going to house shows in high school. When I came to Morgantown, I was extremely eager to jump into the scene and see what Morgantown had to offer,” said Courtney Ratliff, a student at West Virginia University.

“I feel that the people involved are trying to create a community and a intimate experience with the artists performing.  That’s what it was about for me.”

Ratliff is a local disc jockey in addition to hosting house shows.  She no longer lives in a house where she can host house shows. However, she does intend on finding a way to start hosting them again.

House shows are another way that Morgantown and college campus’ alike can bring students together in an intimate environment.  Whether the motivation is to save money, stay in or to be up close and personal with the band; house shows will continue to happen as long as someone is opening up their house to them.

“If something goes wrong at least no one paid to get in,” Ratliff said.

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Haunted WVU

By: Ashley Piomelli, Mackenzie Mays and Erica Mokay

Janitors at West Virginia University have seen a little girl in a yellow party dress dancing around the Mountainlair at night. Legend has it, she was buried years ago in a cemetery where Stewart Hall now stands.

An employee died after falling from the elevator shaft of the downtown library during maintenance. Students over the years have reported seeing him get on and off of the elevator late at night and vanish before they get to a chance to catch him.

Women pose outside the Woodburn Seminary in Morgantown in 1865. The seminary was built where Woodburn Hall stands now on the downtown WVU campus.

Even a ghostly cow moos in Woodburn, after a senior prank went wrong and lead the cow to its death in the clock tower.

Stories like these are what motivated Jason Burns, WVU professor and storyteller, to create the West Virginia Spectral Heritage Project.

The project was founded in 2006 and helps keep the history-rich ghost stories of the state alive. But, West Virginian ghostly tales are nothing new.

“West Virginia has such a rich culture of storytelling because it sits in the very center of the Appalachian region. Appalachian culture has been under attack since we moved into these mountains, and interest in it wanes as it gets more and more devalued by mainstream society.  The stories I tell are not only to entertain, but to educate people about the value of Appalachian history and culture. All of us who are true Appalachian scholars revel in storytelling,” Burns said. “My main goal with the heritage project is to record as many of West Virginia’s ghost and monster stories as I can before they disappear entirely.”

Burns said it’s important to know that most ghost stories have a bigger purpose than to simply give listeners the creeps ­– they’re cautionary tales to teach life’s lessons.

One of his favorite stories comes from Middleway, W.Va. and tells the story of a stranger who asks for shelter because his health is fading. The man is dying and asks a non-catholic family to call a priest. The family denies the man his dying wish, and his ghost haunts him for eternity.

E. Moore Hall was built for Elizabeth Moore as an all girls facility. Moore died just one year prior to the building’s completion. Legend has it, her ghost still haunts the building, which now houses WVU offices for international students.

“Now the lesson in that story is – if someone is dying, then show some compassion and grant their dying wish,” Burns said. “You don’t have to believe in ghosts to enjoy a good ghost story.  Within the stories, there is always some facet of history or culture that will still reach out and grab you, terrify you, and in the end let you go a better, and hopefully wiser, person.  Ghost stories originally existed as tools for teaching – not as mere entertainment. Throughout West Virginia’s ghost stories, there are tales that teach us safety, honor, bravery, respect, love – all the basics of how to be a human being are in these tales.”

Burns said stoytellers like himself are helping mend the reputation the region has acquired over the years and stomp out negative stereotypes.

“Critics of storytelling – or of anything Appalachian – are usually misinformed about the culture.  For the most part, they have a basic ignorance of Appalachia that is fed by many negative stereotypes in media and popular culture. However, in my personal experience that ignorance is beginning to be overshadowed by a re-evaluation of the value of the culture in music, literature and in the arts such as storytelling,” he said. “As a native West Virginian and Appalachian, I still find myself cringing whenever someone mentions the term ‘redneck’ without realizing the history behind the term but I am increasingly pleasantly surprised by the people who embrace the culture, seek it out and enjoy it. As time goes on, people are showing more interest in true Appalachian culture.”

But, sharing these ghostly tales isn’t just a hobby for Burns, who leads the Haunted WVU tour every Halloween and is a member of the West Virginia Storytellers Guild, — it’s a way of life.

“In my personal experience, I have improved immensely since I first began performing, and I hope to keep improving. Storytelling is a living, breathing art form that changes and evolves with each re-telling of a tale, and the same goes for storytellers,” he said. “For that small time performing, the story belongs to the storyteller and they fashion it in their image of what that story could be. Then, the listener gains that story and passes it on as they tell it to someone else. It’s an evolution of story that will continue until the story is no longer told.”


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WVU Men’s Soccer: The Home Field Advantage

Produced by: Eva Buchman, Brooke Cassidy, and Matthew Krauza

With the slow break up of the Big East Athletic Conference over the last year, WestVirginia University was on the hunt for a new conference. After months of uncertainty, WVU found a new home with the Big 12 Conference- all except for one team.

The Big 12 does not currently sponsor men’s soccer, proving to be a problem for WVU and Head men’s soccer coach Marlon LeBlanc. Having been the Head Coach at West Virginia since 2006, LeBlanc has guided the Mountaineers to the NCAA Tournament three times, each time making it to at least the second round.

Head Coach Marlon LeBlanc applauds the crowd after a win during the 2011 season. Photo by: Brooke Cassidy

The Mountaineers soccer team has recently signed a new contract with the Mid-American Conference, where it will begin play for the 2012-2013 season. In a joint effort between Coach LeBlanc and WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck, the Mountaineers now have a four-year commitment with the MAC, and they are looking forward to facing new challenges.

“When we looked for a conference, we were really looking for a conference that was just going to give us the best fit altogether. Geography really didn’t matter, we were looking for competitiveness, and I think at the end of the day, we’ve found that,” said LeBlanc.

WVU will face new opponents, including Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Miami, Ohio, Toledo, and Western Michigan. Also in the conference are Akron, which won the National Championship in 2010, and Northern Illinois, which  consistently places in the top of the conference.

This, however, is exactly what Luck and LeBlanc wanted. They were looking for a level of competition that would be similar to what WVU was used to in the Big East, as well as a conference that would push West Virginia towards the ultimate goal: a national championship.

“We’re really confident in ourselves,” said senior goalkeeper Pat Eavenson. “We’re looking for a championship at the end of the fall. I definitely want a ring, I know Marlon and the rest of the players do, so, we’re trying to win.”

People throughout Morgantown are looking forward to the change and seeing what the Mountaineers can bring to the field.

The sun sets above Dick Dlesk soccer stadium in Morgantown, W. Va., before the Mountaineers took the field for a home game in the 2011 season. Photo by: Brooke Cassidy

“I think we’ll do fine in the new conference…I think we’ll be one of the favorites, along with Akron and Illinois,” said WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck.

With the new conference alignment, WVU will be able to play two games a year with each team in the MAC, one at home and one away. The schedule for next season has not yet been released, but the Mountaineers will continue their spring schedule on April 22, with a game against Slippery Rock University.

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Cooking With Chris

By: Sebouh Majarian, Ryan Ross and Andrew McDonald

Chris Hall’s retirement dreams became reality as he looked over the blueprints for his future retirement home. Hall loved to help others improve their cooking skills while teaching them how to prepare and make distinct dishes.

“Every time somebody had a party or something they’d say, ‘Call Lieutenant Hall, call Captain Hall, call Major Hall, and he’ll take care of it for you,’ and I did all those things but it was always my job but my tastes were a little too high,” he said.

Hall opened My Kitchen and started his ‘retirement’ two and a half years ago. He provides the food, ingredients and any utensils or equipment to be used during the hands-on classes he offers nightly.

His passion for cooking goes back even before working at his first restaurant at age 13. Hall has an extensive background in the industry which includes everything from diners to becoming a personal chef for several clients in Washington DC.

Chef Chris Hall has been living his dream of teaching others how to cook ever since he retired from the Air Force

After serving in the Air Force for 20 years, Hall’s dreams of having his kitchen double as his office almost came crashing down when the Monogalia County Health Department turned him away.

“Getting this started was a problem,” he said. “(The health department’s) first answer is always no, so you have to figure out the rules better than they know them and start getting some yes. In retrospect I’m glad they stopped me in the house because my wife comes home and she just wants to relax and I’d be traipsing through there with eight or ten people and that would stink so this is nice. I even have my own man cave in there.”

With a degree in culinary arts added to his lengthy work resume Hall has created an interactive and fun atmosphere for him and his students. The three-hour sessions have gained popularity in the area in a short time.

“My dream world would be four people, five nights a week. That would be perfect,” he said. “Unfortunately it doesn’t come like that, I get one-zies and two-zies and then I get (groups of) eight and ten and there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it.”

The students that come in nightly have a wide variety of recipes to pick from as the dishes range from Tex-Mex to Mediterranean. Hall even has classes such as light, fast and delicious or fast and easy meals for people on the go.

A master of all dishes, Hall demonstrates how to make quick and easy meals from cultures all over the world.

“We’ve always been looking for something like this in the Morgantown area but we hadn’t been able to so it was a great find for us,” said Dave Fogerty, a first time visitor to My Kitchen.

Like any good chef Hall doesn’t limit himself or his students. He takes suggestions for classes to teach because people want to learn about various cultural dishes and for the simple reason to expand their cooking skills and knowledge.

Cooking With Chris

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From Farm to Fork

By Alex Koscevic, Lindsey Burnworth, and Anthony Pellegrino

Cheryl Brown tries to buy her food locally.

“I personally enjoy knowing where my food comes from,” said Brown, an agriculture and regional economics professor. She said it makes her feel good that her money is going directly to someone she knows.

Buying locally doesn’t just help the local economy; it also can help you save money. In Morgantown, consumers have multiple ways to find locally grown food.

The Mountain People’s Co-Op is one store that offers local foods, and Ashley Keane, an employee of the store, said the store’s mission is to provide healthy and nutritious items to its members at the lowest possible cost. One way this is possible is because the Co-Op serves as a venue for small suppliers to sell their products. The store charges sellers a 10 percent commission fee, while most commercial stores require 40 percent of the profit.

Ashley Keane, an employee at Mountain People’s Co-Op, in Morgantown, W.Va., rings up a customer’s order. The store sells ingredients from local farmers and distributors.

Keane said contrary to what people might think, it’s actually cheaper to buy local foods. “That’s a huge misconception,” she said. “Most products you buy in a grocery store have fuel and packaging costs, but our products don’t have that because they’re grown so close to here. Also we buy in bulk, so that cuts down on costs too, especially when even the distributor is local.”

Mountain People’s Co-Op, located in Morgantown, W.Va., sells a variety of foods from local farms, including ginger.

Also because they’ve worked with each other so frequently, the store employees, the growers and the distributors have an informal partnership. One example is frozen fruit: The Co-Op has the product 40 cents cheaper than anywhere in town.

The Richwood Grill, a restaurant in Morgantown that prides itself on using local ingredients, frequently makes purchases at the Mountain People’s Co-Op and also local farmers’ markets.

“I think we started out just trying to find good products, or good food to put out, and then developed these relationships with local farmers,” said Richwood Grill co-owner Alegria Ohlinger. “At one point we were just kind of saying, ‘Why are we giving so little of our money to these folks who are doing really good stuff, and giving the majority of it to a commercial supplier?’”

The Richwood Grill, located in Morgantown, W.Va., uses local ingredients for its dishes. Owner Marion Ohlinger holds fish that was bought that morning from a local farm.

Brown said another benefit may be that some items don’t ship well, so the local varieties of some products might even taste better. Marion Ohlinger, the other co-owner of the Richwood Grill, said he loves the camaraderie at the farmers’ market, and it gives him the ability to expand on the ingredients available to his restaurant.

“I really love going through and talking with all the farmers, and they all know me and we know them. We pick out what we want, and they grow special stuff for us, and then we bring it here and we make all these cool new things,” he said.

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The Dixieland Duke

Larry Schwab wears his conductor’s hat with the High Street Jazz Band logo. Conductors’ hats are commonly worn in New Orleans Jazz bands, and Schwab plays with such a band during the French Quarter Festival each year.

By Jacqueline Delphin, Paige Carver, and Evan McCaffrey 

Imagine a  warm night on High Street in Morgantown, W. Va., the notorious downtown party center of West Virginia University.  Students dressed for the night’s festivities walk along in packs towards their favorite destinations.  In the distance a commotion breaks the crowd as a street band dressed in full Jazz regalia dances and belts out the old Dixieland Jazz tune “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

Some students move aside for the out of the ordinary sight, but many follow along and dance in appreciation. If you didn’t look closely at the group, you’d probably miss the man who seems of a different generation than the mostly twenty-something band members.  But then you would miss Larry Schwab, a young at heart 71-year-old trumpeter for the “High Street Jazz Band.”

A member of the WVU marching band, Schwab is no ordinary student, or in any aspect an ordinary person.  Schwab, a native of Arthurdale, W.Va., graduated from West Virginia University with a bachelor’s degree in 1962 and a medical degree in 1966.

As long as he can remember he always had an interest in New Orleans-style Dixieland Jazz.

The jazz style originates from the end of the Spanish-American War when the army bands returned from fighting and sold their instruments at cheap prices in the New Orleans pawn market. African Americans in the city, many of Creole culture, bought these instruments and began creating their unique style of music that has African, French, and Spanish origins. The music evolved into what is now called Dixieland Jazz.

As member of his middle school and high school bands, Schwab began experimenting with the style of music by playing works from  “The Dukes of Dixieland,” a Dixieland revival band that gained popularity in the 1950’s, and the well known trumpeter  “Louis Armstrong” who Schwab places as “the greatest entertainer of all-time.”

In 1956, during a trip with his parents heading to the Western U.S., Schwab stopped in New Orleans, La.  While there, he listened to jazz bands and street musicians and the music forever became part of his life.

After graduating from WVU in 1966, he moved to the birthplace of his beloved music and interned at the Charity Hospital of Louisiana in New Orleans. While working at this inner-city hospital he was able to see and meet the indigenous people of southern Louisiana and New Orleans. While living on St. Charles Ave, he became enveloped in the city’s music scene.

“There’s the advantage of being in one of the most exciting cities in the world and possibly, quite possibly the best city for music anywhere on the planet,” says Schwab.

After only spending a year in New Orleans his life plans came to a halt when he was drafted into the U.S. Army to be sent to the Vietnam War.  This raised a moral predicament for him.

“I was a conscientious objector.  I was opposed to the war before I was forced to go. I had to decide if I was going to resist and go to jail or flee the country, so I decided to go to Vietnam as a non-combatant,” said Schwab.

During his service he served as a general medical officer and then as a battalion surgeon for an artillery unit. He was awarded two bronze stars: for meritorious service and for valor for heroism in ground combat operations as a non-combatant. His military service was documented in depth through interviews by the WVU school of journalism with the Library of Congress’s  Veterans History Project. 

After his discharge from the Army, Schwab began to work for the International Eye Foundation in Ethiopia for two and a half years as a volunteer teaching local medical practitioners medical treatment to help prevent the causes of blindness. After being forced to leave Ethiopia, due to a revolution in the country, he moved with his wife and three children to Kenya and continued working for the IEF.

After living and working in four different African countries, Schwab and his wife returned to Morgantown, W.Va. in 1989.

Larry Schwab, M.D., plays trumpet during rehearsal for the High Street Jazz Band. The local band plays Schwab's favorite music New Orleans Dixieland Style Jazz. He is also adamant that he enjoys all kinds of music.

Schwab works part time at the Louis A. Johnson Veteran’s Administration Hospital, Clarksburg, W.Va. and teaches resident physicians at West Virginia University’s School of Medicine in the Department of Ophthalmology.

He stays active in world activism as a current member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, an organization that “works for a world free of antipersonnel landmines and cluster munitions.” He has returned to Vietnam several times as part of this organization.

Music is still a large part of his life and every Friday night he joins the High Street Jazz Band’s march down High Street.

“We do know that he spent some time in New Orleans and he knows a lot about that kind of stuff…but I think we have a shared interest in it,” says John Steadman drummer for the High Street Jazz Band.  “But, Larry is definitely a driving force on the band. He is a lot of what keeps it going,”

Drummer John Steadman and Larry on the trumpet practice during rehearsal for the High Street Jazz Band. Larry joins the band every Friday night to parade down High Street in Morgantown, W.Va.

The band is recording its second album and will tour surrounding states to promote music to a younger generation.

“Its happy music. Its music to be used to promote the welfare of the people in a community and the main reason why we do it is because we really do care about the community, “says John Fitzmaurice one of the co-founders of the band who met Schwab at WVU’s marching band practice.  They realized their shared interest in the community and music.

Schwab’s latest venture included as recent trip to the French Quarter Jazz Festival in New Orleans, where on Friday the 13th he joined in a parade with the “second line” which in New Orleans parade and funeral traditions, are those who join in behind the procession and play their instruments.  He played his trumpet.

“Music is the common denominator, it’s really, it’s the only universal language,” Schwab said.

A jazz street band performs on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, one of the the same streets that Larry Schwab paraded down during the recent French Quarter Festival.

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Seven Weeks to Sexy

By: Lauragrace Allen, Derek Denneny & Lee Ammer

Myra Ugaz has been a regular at the West Virginia University Student Recreation Center since enrolling in August 2008.

Although she’s spent countless hours in the gym, she’s never gotten involved in the programs offered by the recreation center until this year.

“I booked a trip to Punta Cana for spring break and needed something new to keep me motivated to get in shape for the trip,” Ugaz said. “I heard about this Physique Seven program and figured it would be perfect for toning up for break.”

Physique 7 is a program offered at the Student Recreation Center that gives students an opportunity to get in shape – and win prizes – by participating in a seven-week body transformation contest.

Although Ugaz didn’t have any specific goals in mind as far as weight loss, she was concerned with looking her best for the trip.

“Six weeks later I’ve reduced my body fat two percent, which is something I’m proud of,” Ugaz said. “I feel good about myself and can’t wait for the trip. I wish I joined the programs here earlier, because it was a lot of fun.”

Many WVU students looking to either get that “beach body” ready in time for Spring Break, stick to their New Year’s resolutions, or stay in shape.

With Physique 7 students have the chance to work one-on-one, or in small groups, with a physical trainer and a nutritionist throughout the seven-week program.

Physical Trainer Kyle Blair trains twin sister Lindsay through the Physique 7 Program at the WVU Recreation Center. Trainers usually work with groups of around five students at a time.

This is the second year the WVU Student Recreation Center has run the program, which is a spin-off of the “Body for Break” program.

“It’s [the program] basically a seven week body transformation contest we use to educate and hopefully provide lifestyle change to students,” said Nancy Oliverio, Manager for Wellness and Fitness at the WVU Student Recreation Center.  “We look for overall involvement and transformation just to see how far you can push yourself in seven weeks.”

The program ran from January 30 until March 17, and each participant is guaranteed at least one workout per week with a personal trainer from the WVU Recreation Center staff.

One way Oliverio and the training staff keep participants motivated is with weekly prizes provided by sponsors from the Morgantown area. Students qualify for the weekly prizes by working out at the Recreation Center three or more times a week.  Grand prizes at the end of the seven weeks are awarded to the students with the biggest overall transformation.

“With this program in particular, we really look at body fat loss and weight loss,” Oliverio explained.

“Its great for the students,” said Bassam Abulaban, one of the physical trainers for Physique 7. “Some of the prizes are really cool, and all they have to do is work out a few times a week. I really enjoy helping people reach their goals so they feel good about themselves, and this is a great way for me to do this.”

Although some students take the program more seriously than others, Oliverio feels it is important to get the right message out to all of the participants.

“The habits that college students develop now normally tend to carry over into their adulthood,” she explained. “So, it is our hope to provide lifestyle management and healthy behavior modification so that they learn healthy lifestyles so that when they go off and get a real job and are a part of society they are maintaining that.”

Students in the Physique 7 Program are taught the importance of exercise at the WVU Recreation Center. They also receive nutrition counseling throughout the program.

Oliverio also feels it’s easier to develop a healthy lifestyle while still in college than beginning one later in life.

“It’s hard to get out of a habit once you do it for four or five years when you’re in college,” she said.  “So it’s better to start early, because as you age you get set in your ways.”

Kyle Blair, a physical trainer for Physique 7, stresses to his clients that although it is important to exercise, eating healthy is just as important – if not more important – in the long run.

“You can come into the gym everyday and work as hard as you can for hours but you’ll never get the results you’re looking for if you’re not putting the right things into your body,” Blair said. “I see people come in all the time and work really hard but leave here and eat fast food. That’s just a waste of time and effort.”

One of Oliverio’s favorite parts of the program is teaching students that eating well doesn’t mean starving yourself or not enjoying a meal out with friends.

“We really want them to realize it doesn’t have to be just chicken and tuna,” she said.  “Eating healthy can be delicious, and you can still go out and have fun and you can still go out with your friends and go to dinner; you just have to consciously make healthy choices.”

Although the program helps out a lot of students, the Physique 7 staff admits that it can be challenging to give everyone individual attention.

“I get sometimes three, four, even five clients in a class sometimes; so it’s tough to really focus on what everyone is doing,” Blair said. “But I really love helping people get in shape, so I do whatever I can to help out.  It’s all about patience, and it helps when my clients are enthusiastic and eager to work hard.”

Abulaban stresses that having fun while exercising is key to a student’s success.

“I like to keep everyone loose and keep everyone in a good mood,” he said. “I get some outgoing groups who really like to encourage each other and that really helps everyone out.  Sometimes, I have to help people break out of their shells, but I know whatever I do will help everyone in the long run.”

While seven weeks may seem like a short period of time to see dramatic results, Oliverio encourages participants to stay motivated and dedicated.  She continues to stress that the long-term benefits will always outweigh the short-term pleasures.

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